Tips on minimising withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine)

Posted by richyrich @richyrich, Nov 2, 2016

I have been taking Effexor/Venlafaxine for years and tried to get off it a few times but each time I try to give up the chemical withdrawal symptoms are a horror story and I give up giving up. Anyone got any tips or tried and tested strategies? Thank you

Liked by Bek, LynneB, kelly76, echams1 ... see all

@lisalucier

@taylorwatkins13 — I think that's a good plan to have your friend take you to urgent care. Good to also have a friend in the loop and looking out for you during a tapering process, since it can be a bumpy road.

Will you post an update on how it goes?

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They were not very helpful. They tried to put me on Xanax and told me to meet with my primary doctor.

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@taylorwatkins13
You might want to start taking a dose where you don’t have any side effects then reduce it at a lower and longer rate. Remember the key is SLOW. Try cutting your pills in quarters or eighths. Good luck to you.
Jake

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It's @tennesseegirl. I haven't posted anything in awhile. For those of you who have followed my struggles, benefited from my posts and helped me along I wanted to post an update. I'm down to 1/4…YES!…1/4 of a 75 mg tab of Effexor from 3…75 mg tabs TID!!
I've had a few rough days…a little "brain
rolling" and a "whooshing sound" in my brain but no roller coaster or feeling and sound of the train!! Tommorrow will be the 4th day of only taking the quarter and this week marks the beginning of my decision to get myself off this drug after seeing my PCP on May 30th. I began that following week by cutting down from 3 a day to one.
I still have a rash on my stomach and occasionally the eye aggravation.
OH! I've dropped 20lbs. The weight gain was ridiculous for me. Unbearable. I was130 lbs before my dosage was upped to 3X a day. I'm so grateful for everyone's support and having found this sight. I HOPE my progress encourages, gives support to continue to someone, just helps in some way.
Thank you again. To each and everyone of you! For your help, tips and support. Each person is different. But it can be done!!

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@tennessegirl

It's @tennesseegirl. I haven't posted anything in awhile. For those of you who have followed my struggles, benefited from my posts and helped me along I wanted to post an update. I'm down to 1/4…YES!…1/4 of a 75 mg tab of Effexor from 3…75 mg tabs TID!!
I've had a few rough days…a little "brain
rolling" and a "whooshing sound" in my brain but no roller coaster or feeling and sound of the train!! Tommorrow will be the 4th day of only taking the quarter and this week marks the beginning of my decision to get myself off this drug after seeing my PCP on May 30th. I began that following week by cutting down from 3 a day to one.
I still have a rash on my stomach and occasionally the eye aggravation.
OH! I've dropped 20lbs. The weight gain was ridiculous for me. Unbearable. I was130 lbs before my dosage was upped to 3X a day. I'm so grateful for everyone's support and having found this sight. I HOPE my progress encourages, gives support to continue to someone, just helps in some way.
Thank you again. To each and everyone of you! For your help, tips and support. Each person is different. But it can be done!!

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@tennessegirl thank you for your inspirational post sharing your success getting off Effexor.
Today, I start going from 150 to 75. I’ve been on 225 for 15+ years. It looks like the road is still long, but at least I feel like it’s the right path.
Best of luck to all who’ve made it their mission to get off this drug.

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@tennessegirl

It's @tennesseegirl. I haven't posted anything in awhile. For those of you who have followed my struggles, benefited from my posts and helped me along I wanted to post an update. I'm down to 1/4…YES!…1/4 of a 75 mg tab of Effexor from 3…75 mg tabs TID!!
I've had a few rough days…a little "brain
rolling" and a "whooshing sound" in my brain but no roller coaster or feeling and sound of the train!! Tommorrow will be the 4th day of only taking the quarter and this week marks the beginning of my decision to get myself off this drug after seeing my PCP on May 30th. I began that following week by cutting down from 3 a day to one.
I still have a rash on my stomach and occasionally the eye aggravation.
OH! I've dropped 20lbs. The weight gain was ridiculous for me. Unbearable. I was130 lbs before my dosage was upped to 3X a day. I'm so grateful for everyone's support and having found this sight. I HOPE my progress encourages, gives support to continue to someone, just helps in some way.
Thank you again. To each and everyone of you! For your help, tips and support. Each person is different. But it can be done!!

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@sarnm you are so welcome!! The reasons I shared were exactly those. To offer encouragement, inspire & hopefully help others thru their journey. I admire your courage and strength of character. Remember everyone is different, you must do this tapering slowly ; listen to your body. And there are a lot of knowledgeable people on this site and everyone is here for you! Feel free to reach out to me If I can help in anyway.
And Thank you!

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@lisalucier

@taylorwatkins13 — I think that's a good plan to have your friend take you to urgent care. Good to also have a friend in the loop and looking out for you during a tapering process, since it can be a bumpy road.

Will you post an update on how it goes?

Jump to this post

Be very careful with Xanax They are addictive if taken too long or too much I quit them for 3 days and wound up in ER with 300 BP anxiety & very sick

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@lisalucier

@taylorwatkins13 — I think that's a good plan to have your friend take you to urgent care. Good to also have a friend in the loop and looking out for you during a tapering process, since it can be a bumpy road.

Will you post an update on how it goes?

Jump to this post

Xanax is very hard to get off of. What state are you in, can you get any organic cbd oil?

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@lisalucier

@taylorwatkins13 — I think that's a good plan to have your friend take you to urgent care. Good to also have a friend in the loop and looking out for you during a tapering process, since it can be a bumpy road.

Will you post an update on how it goes?

Jump to this post

Hi, @taylorwatkins13 — glad you went in. That took guts to do something about the way you were feeling during your taper.

It doesn't sound like you found it very satisfying?

Wondering what you decided to do with the recommendations you go on Alprazolam (Xanax) and meet with your primary doctor?

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Hey, I am thirty years old and I was diagnosed bipolar when I was a teenager. {among other things} Anyway about 11 years ago I started Paxil. I dont recommend any of these of course. And I am a terrible procrastinator who took my daily dose at night. I didnt know if I missed a dose until well into the next day when I was like ohmygod what is wrong with me. Oh thats you without your meds. Oh no, thats my body losing levels of a chemical it became dependant on, it in no way reflected me as a person. and if i didnt get my script filled on time? It was pure hell. One time it was over a weekend and I went without it. The first day was physically bad. My body was cramping a little but my emotions were all over the place and I was mentally drained. The next day was a hundred times worse and my mind was just getting more and more foggy. By sunday, because i had to wait for the doctors office to approve another refill or something i should have taken care of a week earlier. anyway sunday was surreal . like dreamlike, it didnt feel real at all. I couldnt hardly move or stop crying and i made someone drive my son who was at the time 5 or 6 and me to my mothers house across town because I just knew i wasnt going to wake up in the morning. I was convinced I was actually going to die. I told the doctors and my pharmacist/ who said it was extremely dangerous to do that and from then on if i ever ran out, he would loan me some to prevent the terrors i mentioned before. I told my then doctor to get me off that pill. Jumped from the frying pan, and into the fire. I was put on EFFEXOR. Mind you these arent even bipolar specific medications. I started out taking 150 mgs. Like you. Dayton just turned ten years old so I was taking it that long. About two weeks ago I was cut down to 75 mgs. This is still quite a cut. I mean they took 75 mgs of what my body has become quite attached to. Ive lost quite a bit of weight and when i do manage to sleep, although im ALWAYS tired, I have the craziest dreams. I mean they are out there. Im so happy to be ridding this poison from my body but all the time i find myself wanting to sneak another dose jsut to feel slightly better. Physically I feel like Ive been run over by a boat and my mind is blurry and reality is faded. Im going to find somewhere to start a blog because theres so much more i need to share. I think I can really help somebody.

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@lauralee88

Hey, I am thirty years old and I was diagnosed bipolar when I was a teenager. {among other things} Anyway about 11 years ago I started Paxil. I dont recommend any of these of course. And I am a terrible procrastinator who took my daily dose at night. I didnt know if I missed a dose until well into the next day when I was like ohmygod what is wrong with me. Oh thats you without your meds. Oh no, thats my body losing levels of a chemical it became dependant on, it in no way reflected me as a person. and if i didnt get my script filled on time? It was pure hell. One time it was over a weekend and I went without it. The first day was physically bad. My body was cramping a little but my emotions were all over the place and I was mentally drained. The next day was a hundred times worse and my mind was just getting more and more foggy. By sunday, because i had to wait for the doctors office to approve another refill or something i should have taken care of a week earlier. anyway sunday was surreal . like dreamlike, it didnt feel real at all. I couldnt hardly move or stop crying and i made someone drive my son who was at the time 5 or 6 and me to my mothers house across town because I just knew i wasnt going to wake up in the morning. I was convinced I was actually going to die. I told the doctors and my pharmacist/ who said it was extremely dangerous to do that and from then on if i ever ran out, he would loan me some to prevent the terrors i mentioned before. I told my then doctor to get me off that pill. Jumped from the frying pan, and into the fire. I was put on EFFEXOR. Mind you these arent even bipolar specific medications. I started out taking 150 mgs. Like you. Dayton just turned ten years old so I was taking it that long. About two weeks ago I was cut down to 75 mgs. This is still quite a cut. I mean they took 75 mgs of what my body has become quite attached to. Ive lost quite a bit of weight and when i do manage to sleep, although im ALWAYS tired, I have the craziest dreams. I mean they are out there. Im so happy to be ridding this poison from my body but all the time i find myself wanting to sneak another dose jsut to feel slightly better. Physically I feel like Ive been run over by a boat and my mind is blurry and reality is faded. Im going to find somewhere to start a blog because theres so much more i need to share. I think I can really help somebody.

Jump to this post

Thats scary These meds can cause many side effects, some dangerous. Xanax did that to me after missing 3 days Went to the ER very sick with 300 BP ! I think Pharmaceutical CO's get away with so much. Not properly warning us some meds are Habit forming . Take care

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Xanax, a dangerous tranquilizer is another Benzodiazepine like Effexor and many are difficult to get off of. I don’t know why docs give patients more addictive (To some people) Benzos.

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@lisalucier

@taylorwatkins13 — I think that's a good plan to have your friend take you to urgent care. Good to also have a friend in the loop and looking out for you during a tapering process, since it can be a bumpy road.

Will you post an update on how it goes?

Jump to this post

Sad that many times folks who are supposed to' help' do not for whatever reason Lack of knowledge or time

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If it were me I’d never cut the Effexor in half. I’d take it slower. But that’s me. Good luck everyone.

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@coloradogirl

So, I just finished this process with Zoloft (sertraline) and here are some things that worked for me. Your mileage may vary, but hopefully these are low risk for you to try.

1) You may need to ask your doctor for a slower tapering program than other patients. Some people are just more sensitive to dosage changes. Be aware that symptoms will get better, then may reappear each time you taper. AAFMA (practice group of family physicians) says that the symptoms typically last 1-2 weeks and as long as 4 weeks, so I just kept reminding myself that it was temporary.
2) Be watchful for things that make your symptoms worse. For example, caffeine seems to trigger the brain zaps for me (still, even after being off for several weeks), so I cut back my caffeine intake. I didn’t give it up completely (because I still need to function), but cut back on how much real coffee I was drinking, mixed decaf with regular, and switched to tea sometimes. In the end, I probably cut my daily caffeine intake in half, and it did help quite a lot.
3) Ibuprofen or other pain reliever can help with the flu-like body aches.
4) Benadryl helped with the brain zaps.
5) Exercise helped with both. Even if I wasn’t up to a run, a few blocks of walking would settle down the symptoms for a while at least. (Then, when they come back, just take another walk. We took a lot of walks for a while there).
6) Get enough sleep. As I came down off the meds, my normal sleeping patterns returned, which was great, but it did mean that I needed to plan time to let my body rest.
7) Pay attention to your diet. Your brain uses carbs to make seratonin, so now is not the time to go on the Atkins diet. Eat well and make sure you’re getting enough healthy carbs. You may crave sweets; I certainly did. I tried to counteract this by having bananas, graham crackers, and other healthy things I could snack on instead of sticking my head in a birthday cake like I seemed to want.

No lie – it’s a painful process, but this did really help make it easier. Also, at a certain point, when I was down the below the normal starter dose, I just ripped off the bandaid and went to zero. At that point, it felt like each taper was just prolonging the suffering. Don’t just go cold turkey from your current dose, though, as that can be dangerous. Also, don’t add any supplements or substitutes for the SSRI without talking to your doctor first (also dangerous).

And of course, watch for the return of depression / anxiety type symptoms. For a while it was hard to tell whether I was tired because of the change in meds or because my depression was returning. I figured as long as I felt okay enough to function and wasn’t thinking about being harmful to myself or anyone else, I could play it out and see. It turned out to be the meds and on the other side, I can see that I was more worried about it than I needed to be.

I wish you the best of luck and a healthy life.

Mardee

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Hi, your way of tapering off is similar to the way I began trying to do several days ago but I am suffering from nausea, nightmares, dizziness, and in short just feeling quite crappy. I was taking 150 mgs and didn't have any problem dropping down to 75, which I have been doing for a few months but now that I'm trying to take just the 75 every other day its taking it's toll. I am afraid to tell my dr. because he seems to want to write a prescription for everything and gets a little bristled if I mention that I want to change things. My PA that I saw for years in another state told me how to wean off of Paxil like you are doing so I thought I would try it this way but I seem to be having a hard time from the start. I was hoping I could do like he instructed and go to two days in between taking the meds for 2 weeks, then go to 3 days for 2 weeks, etc. until I could just stop but….its hard just skipping only 1 day. Hummm.

Liked by Leonard

REPLY
@coloradogirl

So, I just finished this process with Zoloft (sertraline) and here are some things that worked for me. Your mileage may vary, but hopefully these are low risk for you to try.

1) You may need to ask your doctor for a slower tapering program than other patients. Some people are just more sensitive to dosage changes. Be aware that symptoms will get better, then may reappear each time you taper. AAFMA (practice group of family physicians) says that the symptoms typically last 1-2 weeks and as long as 4 weeks, so I just kept reminding myself that it was temporary.
2) Be watchful for things that make your symptoms worse. For example, caffeine seems to trigger the brain zaps for me (still, even after being off for several weeks), so I cut back my caffeine intake. I didn’t give it up completely (because I still need to function), but cut back on how much real coffee I was drinking, mixed decaf with regular, and switched to tea sometimes. In the end, I probably cut my daily caffeine intake in half, and it did help quite a lot.
3) Ibuprofen or other pain reliever can help with the flu-like body aches.
4) Benadryl helped with the brain zaps.
5) Exercise helped with both. Even if I wasn’t up to a run, a few blocks of walking would settle down the symptoms for a while at least. (Then, when they come back, just take another walk. We took a lot of walks for a while there).
6) Get enough sleep. As I came down off the meds, my normal sleeping patterns returned, which was great, but it did mean that I needed to plan time to let my body rest.
7) Pay attention to your diet. Your brain uses carbs to make seratonin, so now is not the time to go on the Atkins diet. Eat well and make sure you’re getting enough healthy carbs. You may crave sweets; I certainly did. I tried to counteract this by having bananas, graham crackers, and other healthy things I could snack on instead of sticking my head in a birthday cake like I seemed to want.

No lie – it’s a painful process, but this did really help make it easier. Also, at a certain point, when I was down the below the normal starter dose, I just ripped off the bandaid and went to zero. At that point, it felt like each taper was just prolonging the suffering. Don’t just go cold turkey from your current dose, though, as that can be dangerous. Also, don’t add any supplements or substitutes for the SSRI without talking to your doctor first (also dangerous).

And of course, watch for the return of depression / anxiety type symptoms. For a while it was hard to tell whether I was tired because of the change in meds or because my depression was returning. I figured as long as I felt okay enough to function and wasn’t thinking about being harmful to myself or anyone else, I could play it out and see. It turned out to be the meds and on the other side, I can see that I was more worried about it than I needed to be.

I wish you the best of luck and a healthy life.

Mardee

Jump to this post

@portuguesegirl
Lower your dose but take it for a week lower it again for another week etc. your body needs to
Your body needs time to adjust to a lower dose and don’t cut it very much at a time. I guarantee you’ll succeed. Slow but sure. Don’t try lowering it everyday or every other day, eventually it may catch up and cause symptoms but if you cut back slowly enough your body won’t miss it. BUT YOU HAVE TO GIVE IT TIME. If you have taken it a long time you may want to cut down even slower. Quite a few people have been given Xanax to ease symptoms but I advise against because then your taking two Benzodiazepines instead of one, and one is hard enough to come off of let alone two. BEST OF LUCK AND REMEMBER, SLOW IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS!!! Inch by inch anything’s a cinch.

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